Power Chat with Alex Shlega

Alex Shlega  is based in Ottawa, Canada; he is Microsoft MVP (Business Applications), Consultant, Solution Architect and Developer

It is always a good idea to learn about different views and approaches, other than your own. Being part of D365 & Power Platform community a few time, we know people but don’t get a chance to work with them. I m starting a new series ‘Power Chat’ on my blog. In ‘Power Chat’ I will interview experts, ask them some questions, and share their experience with the community. ‘Power Chat with Alex Shlega’ is the first post in this series.

Q: For the success of a D365 project, what are a few things (practices or steps) you do when kick-starting a new project?

I don’t do “D365” so much – much more often it’s model-driven PowerApps, so I am trying to do a demo of the platform to the client team as early as possible, and I follow up with more demos/explanations of the platform functionality as often as I can.

Q: What delivery methodology you have found useful in projects?

Regular iterations with frequent demos where all stakeholders are present. It could be some variation of SCRUM, but certainly not a waterfall.

Q: What is one thing that can make a project successful or vice versa?

Underestimating customization and/or data migration efforts

Q: Give me two (or more) tips that will enhance the performance of my applications?

Replace real-time workflows/sync plugins with Flows/async plugins where you can

For the model-driven forms, don’t overuse javascript customizations

For the data migration, make sure the plugins don’t run (or, at the very least, make sure they don’t do anyting for the migrated data)

Q: Tell us two things (or more) which will improve the quality of deliveries?

Automate your deployment process with Azure DevOps

See if you can add automated testing using EasyRepro or other frameworks/tools

Q: In the context of D365 CE implementation, what does architecture means to you?

Data modelling, security modelling, identifying data integration points (service bus, web hooks, etc), also choosing best tools for the job (canvas apps vs model-driven apps, Flows vs workflows vs plugins vs script, etc)

Q: What few things you consider when you architecture or design a solution?

Licensing, security, reporting capabilities, user interface complexity

Q: Tell us anything that you consider is/are the best practice(s) and everyone should follow?

The sooner you start capturing security and/or reporting requirements, the better

Q: Share a tip of yours to boost productivity as a dev, consultant or architect?

Talk to the stakeholders as often as you can about what and how they do. Understanding the context can make all the difference.

Q: Tell us about a canvas app that you have built or seen which was awesome?

Awesome or not, but I did find canvas apps quite useful since they can make the process much more straightforward and reduce the learning curve for new users who only need to perform very specific application activities

Q: Recently have you seen an impressive application of IA?

No, if you mean AI😊 No idea what IA means

Q: Managed or Unmanaged?

I’ll abstain

Q: Early bound or late bound?

Late

Q: LINQ, FetchXML or QueryExpression?

Depends

Q: No code/ low code or hardcore development?

No code/low code as possible, hardcore development as required

Q: In your kingdom, what sort of testing is mandatory (add more value) and which are optional?

I don’t have a kingdom, so a lot depends on the team/client

Q: Generally for Integration which technology and pattern is your choice?

Same as above – I used SSIS on some projects, I used web services on others, there were service bus integrations, and there were completely custom solutions

Q: Any open-source, community development, toolbox plugin that you want someone to develop?

Quite frankly, I’d rather see Microsoft developing all required tooling within the platform so I’d be able to rely on those tools availability moving forward

Q: If you have all the resources to improve one thing in D365 what that would be?

Application lifecycle management

Q: What is one thing in model apps you consider people are not utilizing its full potential?

Not sure

Q: If you are selling D365 just by one feature, what that feature is?

D365 or PowerPlatform? For the PowerPlatform, I’d call out it’s versatility. For D365, I’d say it’s built on top of PowerPlatform, so it comes with the inherent versatility

Q: What will you suggest to someone who wants to be a D365 CE professional?

Stop reading and watching – get your hands dirty and start working with the product

Q: What advice will you give your younger self who is already working as a D365 professional?

You may like the product now, but there will be times when you’ll hate it. It’s normal, you’ll always get over it.

Q: What are a few things you do to be efficient in working?

Learning never ends

Q: What is the best way to keep up with technological advancements and changes?

Unfortunately, the best way to keep up is to keep learning and utilizing them😊

Thanks Alex.

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